?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Valuable Humans In Transit. - Adventures in Engineering — LiveJournal
The wanderings of a modern ronin.

Ben Cantrick
  Date: 2008-12-16 11:40
  Subject:   Valuable Humans In Transit.
Public
  Tags:  reddit, scifi

I could barely see it coming. It turned up on a security camera feed, of all places. Must have come out of an observational blind spot. Solar glare alone cuts out a quarter of the sky, to say nothing of our enormous coverage shortfalls, but now's not the time for retrospectives. There hasn't been time for the seismic responses to register - the blast wave has been covering the distance faster. The blast wave: visible in the corner of a grainy black and white frame dated some two seconds ago, closer in the frame after that, third frame pure static. No idea what megatonnage the asteroid carried, don't know, don't care. No time to re-task the other cameras in Inverness. No time to save anybody in it. The rest - maybe.

All told, at a rough guess, they have about fifteen minutes total before the entire planet is rendered aggressively uninhabitable. There is absolutely no way they could orchestrate any level of evacuation in that time. I could barely explain the problem to one in a hundred of the pairs of ears available to listen, and what would they do? Run around screaming. Find something to shoot, something to mate with. No, it's just my intellect and my theoretically limitless resources versus the problem of figuring out how to apply them both. All that matters is the unsigned integer variable in my mind reading "Estimated total human population", which, for the first time in history, is counting down, not up.

Machines don't panic.


http://qntm.org/?transit
Post A Comment | 5 Comments | | Link






Jon: Solla Sollew
  User: j_b
  Date: 2008-12-16 19:46 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
Keyword:Solla Sollew
Nice.
Reply | Thread | Link



Ben Cantrick
  User: mackys
  Date: 2008-12-16 19:52 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
Maybe it's just being a child of the internet age, but I'm finding short stories more and more enjoyable. A lot of the best sci-fi doesn't come as a novel. All that characterization and plot development tends to be boring drudgery you have to shovel aside just to get to the cool central idea of a good sci-fi story.

I think the idea that you're not a "real" writer if you only write short stories comes partly from writer machismo - as if being able to artfully put more window-dressing on an idea is somehow "better". And partly publisher bullshit - publishers essentially get paid by the page (which is just another way of getting paid by the pound) so of course they want longer books.

Length isn't everything. ;]
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link



Willow: Stars
  User: willow_red
  Date: 2008-12-17 14:00 (UTC)
  Subject:   Everything Old Is New Again
Keyword:Stars
The science-fiction genre started out as almost exclusively short stories. It's only been in more recent years (read: our lifetimes) that full-length novels have gotten more attention. Even a lot of the classic sci-fi novels that you might think of had their start as short stories, which some publisher liked enough to have turned into a longer work.

I can recommend some good ones, if you like. In many cases, full text has been posted online for classic short stories.
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link



Ben Cantrick
  User: mackys
  Date: 2008-12-17 15:21 (UTC)
  Subject:   Re: Everything Old Is New Again
Recommend away. Never hurts to have material for a rainy day.
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link



  User: (Anonymous)
  Date: 2008-12-17 18:01 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
That a *similar* Sci-Fi scenario to The Killing Star.
If you liked that, then check out the book (http://www.amazon.com/Killing-Star-Charles-Pellegrino/dp/0380770261/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1229536597&sr=8-1):
Reply | Thread | Link



browse
May 2015